Mobile Clinic Serves Need in Community
A recent issue of the N. C. Medical Journal included a commentary on the work being done by universities in the state to improve access to health care and outreach to underserved communities. The article included RAMS Know H.O.W. (Healthcare on Wheels) mobile clinic as an example of an innovative way to reach underserved populations whose lack of transportation prevents them from accessing health services.
Operated by the WSSU School of Health Sciences, the mobile unit offers free, convenient, preventive health services to areas of the community where there are significant populations of those who are who are uninsured or underinsured. It goes into these identified areas and provides high-quality, accessible, integrated wellness services to help reduce health disparities.
"The School of Health Sciences, is proud of our partnership with Novant Health, and the commitment of numerous faculty, students and alumni in our joint effort to help eliminate health disparities amongst vulnerable underserved populations here in Forsyth County, where the lack of adequate insurance or no insurance at all, keeps our fellow citizens from getting the quality healthcare they deserve," said Kevin Byers, WSSU assistant dean in the WSSU School of Health Sciences. "We are thankful for the acknowledgment of our innovation in combating this unfortunate dynamic in our region and beyond, but are very humble in our recognition that we have much more work to do."
The mobile clinic team, which consists of health sciences faculty members, staff and students from allied health and nursing, creates an excellent environment in which to engage in inter-professional education and practice. This approach not only provides services, but offers students an experiential opportunity that will be beneficial after graduation when working in a team environment with other healthcare professionals will be a crucial.
RAMS Know H.O.W. team members measure blood pressure, determine serum levels of glucose and cholesterol, and provides health education and referrals to local providers when needed. Over the past three years, the clinic has served more than 4,000 people; more than 80% of these individuals were African Americans, 70% were overweight or obese, 30% had diabetes (many without realizing it), more than 30% had hyperlipidemia, and 70% had prehypertension hypertension.